AUSTRALIA AT SUNDANCE
A record-breaking six Australian feature films were selected to screen at Sundance Film Festival in January/February 2019. They were: Animals, I Am Mother, Judy and Punch, Little Monsters, The Nightingale and Top End Wedding. All made their world premieres, except The Nightingale, which was fresh from its award-winning screening at Venice International Film Festival.
Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason said the films showed the wide variety of stories coming out of Australia – and how in-demand they are.
“From quintessentially Australian tales Top End Wedding and The Nightingale, to Australian takes on sci-fi and dark comedy I Am Mother and Little Monsters, to international stories Animals and Judy and Punch – this is an incredible slate of premieres,” he said at the time.
“The fact that all the films revolve around central female characters, and half are directed by women, is a milestone for the Australian industry. Change is coming – slowly, but surely.”
While at Sundance, NEON and Hulu won the bid for Made Up Stories’ zombie comedy Little Monsters in a partnership deal for US rights, and Netflix took nearly global rights to I Am Mother.
The NightingaleDID YOU KNOW?
Screen Australia again hosted selectors from Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and Berlin film festivals to meet filmmakers and/or see new films.
THE NIGHTINGALE WINS AT VENICE
Feature film The Nightingale, directed and written by Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), won two awards at Venice International Film Festival in September 2018. It was awarded the Special Jury Prize, and Baykali Ganambarr received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor.
DOCUMENTARIES AT TRIBECA, HOT DOCS, BERLIN, VENICE AND MORE
Two feature documentaries premiered at Tribeca 2019 – the Michael Hutchence documentary Mystify from Richard Lowenstein, and Selina Miles’ Martha: A Picture Story. Mystify was also selected for Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in 2019 as was the Maya Newell-directed In My Blood It Runs. Meanwhile Damon Gameau’s 2040 was selected for Berlin International Film Festival, and documentary VR projects Awavena, created by Lynette Wallworth, and The Unknown Patient from writer/director Michael Beets went to Venice.
Screen Australia has a presence at major international television events throughout the year, including MIPCOM/MIPJnr and Content London.
“The significance of MIPCOM and the reason why that remains really important to any production business is that’s your opportunity to connect with buyers, sell shows and also float ideas, so you can talk about things that maybe you’ve got in development and you can get a real gauge of what the market might be out there in the wider world.” Alastair McKinnon, Managing Director of Matchbox Pictures
- In 2018/19 $1.2 million was provided in marketing support for Australian Industry practitioners to market projects internationally
- More than $600,000 was provided as grants and loans to five theatrical feature films to boost audience awareness and drive cinema attendance.